We are lucky enough (most of us) in the Bay Area to be able to garden for most of the year and that means that the Fall is a good time to both add seasonal color and to engage in a little P&P (prepping & planting) in advance of spring. For some Fall planting suggestions follow this blue link to my article in the San Francisco Chronicle. There are a wide range of plants available to add color for the season plus for those in milder zones, plants such as gaillardias, wall flowers, heliotropes and abutilons will bloom nearly year round. Now is a great time for adding a fall-blooming vine or two, with plants such as thunbergia blooming well into winter.
Fall is also an excellent time to plant shrubs. On top of the usual suspects, late fall is an excellent time to find and plant Australian shrubs such as grevilleas, leptospermums and correas and also South African plants such as Protea family members (proteas, leucospermums, leucodendrons, banksias). We may sometimes think of Fall as a time to rest but for those willing to roll up their sleeves there are rewards aplenty to be found in local nurseries.